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Childhood diabetes is the second most common chronic disease in childhood. Formerly it was a disease typical of adults, but with the growth of the childhood obesity index, associated with a sedentary life and bad eating habits, cases of Child diabetes they have increased considerably among boys and girls.
Childhood diabetes (Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus) is between 10 and 15 percent of total diabetes and it is the second most frequent chronic disease in childhood. In Spain, about 30,000 children under the age of 15 have diabetes and every year there are 1,100 new cases.
Diabetes is characterized by an alteration in the production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas or by resistance to the action of insulin in the body. It is insulin that helps the body transform sugar (or glucose) into energy, thus promoting the proper functioning of the human body.
The amount of insulin released depends a lot on the amount of sugar you eat. If we consume more foods rich in carbohydrates (potatoes, sugar, pasta, rice, cookies, etc.), we will be demanding the pancreas to work much more than normal.
When the levels of sugar (or glucose) that circulate in the blood present a significant increase, we speak of the glycemic index.
The number of children affected with this disease varies greatly, depending on the country of origin. In Spain, for example, it is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 cases of diabetes in children under 15 years of age.
And although the origin of the disease is different, specialists affirm that a 90 percent of cases refer to type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes appears suddenly and can appear from the first weeks of birth to 30 years of age, although it is in the period of 5 to 7 years, and during puberty, when the disease tends to be more common.
Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood. It is characterized by the lack of insulin production and, consequently, by an increase in blood glucose or glycemia, such that measuring blood glucose several times a day, self-injecting insulin subcutaneously and following a proper diet, are some of the important pillars of your treatment.
There are studies that guarantee that children who participate in sports on a regular basis, could have better blood glucose levels than those who do not practice it. The type 2 diabetes is inherited and it occurs when cells resist the action of insulin.
This disease can be prevented from the birth of children. Prevention can start with breastfeeding, thus avoiding artificial feeding, rich in unnecessary sugars during this phase.
To avoid childhood obesity and also diabetes, it is necessary for children to enjoy a healthy diet as well as physical activities, preventing them from leading a sedentary life, spending a lot of time in front of television, the computer or video games. Children need a diet rich in fiber and low in sugar.
The ideal would be to reduce the intake of fast-absorbing sugars such as refined, brown, crystal and honey sugar, and replace them with the sugars that already exist in pasta and fruits.
Diabetes can cause, in the long term, and if not treated properly, loss of vision, heart attack, hypertension, stroke, sexual impotence, lung diseases and kidney failure.
In recent years, the mean age of onset of the disease has been decreasing, while a few years ago it was more numerous at puberty, the onset of children under 6 years old.
For this reason, it is important to fundamentally prevent ketoacidosis, which is a serious complication and carries a life-threatening risk if not treated early. It can occur after a period during which the symptoms can be mild and sometimes go unnoticed or do so abruptly, as occurs in younger children.
In addition to short-term problems like ketoacidosis, if you don't maintain good metabolic control over the years, you can also experience long-term complications.
In this sense, the daily self-care that diabetes implies are essential to prevent serious complications associated with it and that can begin to develop in pediatric age, such as blindness, kidney failure, amputations and cardiovascular diseases, and that can be avoided as long as there is good control of diabetes.
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